'3 Days of Rain'

Days of Rain intercuts six Chekhov stories, relocated to Cleveland and updated with mild "subversion" of the junkie-mother-post-custody-lesbian sort. The real subversion is director Michael Meredith's insistence on not capturing interactions between human beings in a frame; with some forethought he could have filmed the actors individually and spliced. Among the few exceptions that succeed is a shot in which a desperately effacing grown son screws his baby-face into a nervous half-grin beneath an umbrella as a drunk Peter Falk tries to chew up an I'm-not-proud-of-what-I'm-doing speech. Elsewhere, two shots of Falk's haggish flatmates—twitching grotesqueries, straight-vodka snarl-pusses—get the witches'-lair part just right. The best scene is a cut job in a cab: A woman passenger is a ball of nerves tormented by the world's grief. "I hurt so bad you have no idea," she says after Don Meredith's understated cabbie has explained that his son "died this week."

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